By the definition of the workplace, a workplace is a location where someone works for their employer. And to work in a workplace you need equipment, tools, and machinery to carry out everyday tasks. All equipment has the potential to cause accidents and/or misuse. So, to ensure safe work practices, some procedures and responsibilities fall on not only the management but also on employees.
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What is Workplace Equipment?
Workplace equipment is any type of tool or accessory that is used in the workspace. Some common examples of workplace equipment are:
- Forklift trucks
- Screw Drivers
Display Screen Equipment (DSE):
- Workstation Displays
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- Hard Hats
Respiratory Working Equipment (RSP):
- Transport Vehicles
- Stapling Machines
Before equipment arrives at a workplace, the manufacturers should follow a few procedures to prepare it according to its environment. It should be done to maintain safety in the workplace and to ensure that the equipment remains operable for its rated life. So, for safety all equipment must have:
- Clearly visible safety and hazard signs: These signs should be placed on the foremost location so that it is the first thing a user sees.
- Disconnector switches: Disconnector switches should be easily and quickly reachable to minimize the aftermath of an accident (or prevent it from even happening).
- Guards and Fencing for moving parts: These should be able to prevent clothes from being sucked into the machinery and causing any sorts of hazard.
- Properly maintained safety records: These ensure that the equipment will keep functioning properly without the chance of damaging other equipment or causing explosion (such as exploding gas cans).
Also Read: Henri Fayol’s Managerial Plan Will Help You
Responsibilities of Management
After the manufacturers, it falls on management’s responsibility to pay close attention to what equipment is being used by employees and how they are using it. This prevents accidents to a massive extent and in addition, puts a check on employees that they are not misusing it.
Some employees might use company computers to surf social media websites or make long telephone calls to friends and families using the company telephone. This is known as misuse of property as they are being used for personal purposes and not for the company’s work. If management is receptive and observant of their environment, they would not only prevent misuse but also avoid accidents.
To avoid accidents or risks caused by workplace equipment, there is a number of procedures management can follow. These are good practices that also help reduce the consequences to a tiny amount, in case of accidents.
- Only allowing employees near equipment who have been trained for use.
- Ensure employees are part of refresher training especially after the introduction of equipment or technology updates.
- Select suitable equipment to be placed in the workplace.
- Maintaining the equipment and carrying out routine overhauls.
- Carrying out risk assessments and identifying possible hazards of the equipment.
- Ensuring the manufacturer’s manuals are always easy to approach and followed closely.
- Putting in place an efficient – defective fault reporting – system.
- Ensuring corrective equipment is quickly and easily approachable in case of an accident, such as placing fire extinguishers at multiple locations.
Responsibilities of Employees
It is the most important duty of the employee to make sure they are following safety procedures in using the equipment. They are the ones who are in direct contact with the equipment and they would be the most affected in case of any unfortunate mishap.
At the same time, it is their responsibility to not misuse or destroy the equipment. It will definitely hurt the company but would have repercussions on the employees themselves too.
The firm may serve them with a hefty fine, terminate them, or even serve them with a lawsuit! Regardless, the following are the practices an employee should adopt if they want to continue safe work practices:
- They should be appropriately trained to use the relevant equipment.
- They should be wearing PPE such as goggles or hardhats were advised by the manufacturer’s manual and identified by risk assessments.
- They should not be using any equipment inappropriately.
- Proper procedures should be followed, so equipment remains proper functioning for rated life.
- If they are sitting in front of displays, they should take occasional breaks so their eyes and back don’t get damaged.
Ensuring safe work practices is the responsibility of every person that interacts with the workplace, either directly or indirectly. It is equally the responsibility of management, manufacturers, and employees. Each person’s profit or loss depends on the functioning of the equipment. If the employee is safe, they would keep working.
If the employee is working, management processes would continue functioning. And if processes are to keep remaining functional, equipment would be needed that are prepared by manufacturers. Each person is a part of a chain in which their businesses, livelihoods, and most importantly: safety, are all interrelated to the services of another person.